Christ Church Cathedral
Charles Raith, Architect
In the day chapel, which is adjacent to the altar of the sanctuary, are a series of windows, the central one of which is visible from the sanctuary. The concept for these windows was developed with intent of expressing the concept of Christ’s universality, the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. This universality is represented by the contrasting opposites of the composition.
The central window contains two figures, one of a stone sculpture of a male figure, which was painted by silkscreen on the back surface in black glass paint, and the other of a female dancer, which was also painted by silkscreen though in white paint. During the day, the black paint of the male figure opaques the sunlight so it is prominently visible, while at night the white paint of the female figure reflects the interior light so that this figure is visually apparent while the male figure fades into the darkness of the background. These dualities, male/female, stone/flesh, permanent/impermanent, static/fluid, represent the universality of Christ, for he is the spiritual embodiment of all men and women.
Beyond representing the concept of Christ’s universality the intent of work was also to represent the ‘liberation’ of women as well as an expression of their role of women in the church as being equal to that of a man. This is best understood by the contrast of the two figures with the male being rigid, solid, and robed while the female is fluid, ephemeral and nude. The representation of the female as being nude suggest the idea of women’s liberation in contrast to the clothed male figure. This particular theme was was relevant at the time of the commission, 1985, for the role of women in the Episcopal Church was a significant concern of the church.